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Evening Standard
Evening Standard
Tom Davidson

Salman Rushdie attack: ‘I want to get back on stage with author,’ says lecture host Henry Reese

The moderator of the event where Sir Salman Rushdie was attacked has spoken for the first time since the stabbing — and says he wants to get back on stage with the author.

Henry Reese said it would be “ideal” to one day return to the New York venue and continue the discussion with the author.

Sir Salman, 75, suffered life-changing injuries after being stabbed several times ahead of a lecture at the Chautauqua Institution, in New York, on Friday.

Asked how he was himself after the incident, Mr Reese told the BBC: “I’m doing well...I think our concern is for Salman, and I mean that for himself, but also what he means in the world.”

He added: “Our mission is to protect writers who are in sanctuary and to see Salman Rushdie assaulted for his life is unimaginable... it’s hard to describe what it is to see that happen in front of you.”

Mr Reese, who sustained severe bruising himself during the incident, said Sir Salman’s values “will be defended and they can be defended.”

Despite his injuries Sir Salman has retained his “usual feisty and defiant sense of humour”, his family has said.

He suffered a damaged liver and severed nerves in an arm and an eye but was taken off a ventilator on Saturday.

(PA Wire)

It comes after Downing Street condemned suggestions from Iran that Sir Salman might bear any responsibility for the “abhorrent attack” as “ludicrous”.

The award-winning author has faced death threats over his book, The Satanic Verses, for more than 30 years.

An Iranian government official has denied that the Tehran regime was involved in the stabbing.

Sir Salman’s alleged attacker, 24-year-old Hadi Matar, has pleaded not guilty through his lawyer to charges stemming from the assault and is due to appear in a US court on Friday.

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